Commentary: Previewing the Cougar running backs
With a new offensive system set to be implemented by Tom Herman and Major Applewhite in the coming season, the Cougars are poised to have one of their most productive years since the time of Art Briles and Kevin Sumlin.
While a large part of the focus for the offense will be on the Quarterback, the running backs will play a crucial part.
Kenneth Farrow: Farrow is coming off his best year as a Cougar, having recorded over a thousand yards on the ground with 14 touchdowns, while also averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
In the Cougars spread offense and with a mobile quarterback in Greg Ward Jr., Farrow wasn’t often the first option, but seemed to find his role late in the season. He recorded over 100 rushing yards in each of the last four games of the season, as well as combining for nine touchdowns over that time. Farrow will be looking to build on that success heading into his final season, and Herman’s recent success at Ohio State University bodes well for the running back.
Ryan Jackson: Jackson will also be looking to make the most of his last year at UH. Jackson split duties with Farrow for the last two seasons, and you can expect much of the same this season. While Farrow is more known for his power to run right through the line, Jackson has the speed and elusiveness to bounce around the edge and turn short gains into explosive plays.
Jackson also benefits from the spread offense system of Herman, as he has the ability to split out as a wide receiver and has shown soft hands in the past.
Jackson was the fifth-leading receiver for the Cougars last season, with 199 receiving yards and two TD’s. With Herman having two senior backs to help with the consistency on the offensive side, Jackson will be sure to have plenty of chances to show off his speed.
Best of the Rest: While two backs stand out above the rest, the Cougars have a strong stable of runners behind the two standouts. Sophomore Javin Webb, senior Justin Hicks and red-shirt freshman Kaliq Kokuma will have a chance to prove their skill in the pre-season. Don’t be surprised if you find any of these Coogs in the back-field. The running backs will prove to be useful in establishing the tempo of the offense early in games this year, and help to open up the possibility of the going deep in the passing game to look for explosive play.